It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker. Please consider supporting our site by purchasing an account.

New York Times, Saturday, April 16, 2016

Author:
Andrew Zhou
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1611/11/20109/23/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3021532
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64241
Andrew Zhou

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 30 Missing: {Q} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 6 for Mr. Zhou. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Andrew Zhou notes:
I'm quite fond of themeless puzzles in which triple stacks in the NW and SE corners open out into surprising territory in the middle. ... read more

I'm quite fond of themeless puzzles in which triple stacks in the NW and SE corners open out into surprising territory in the middle. I started this one with MYSTERY MEAT, which is not only gives me a chuckle, but which contains very "end-friendly" letters. This solves a problem I've encountered in which the bottom entry of the bottom stack, constrained by such "end-friendly" letters, can often be something less than stellar.

Some of my favorite entries here are on the shorter end: MCCAFE, ADEXECS, FBICASES, and CHEEZITS. I MEAN REALLY unintentionally evokes SNL's "Weekend Update" and my SETH MEYERS entry from December. GET THE WRONG IDEA is one of those expressions that seems harmless and generic but, upon closer inspection, is rather contextually specific (e.g.: "I think you got the wrong idea about my intentions," or "now don't get the wrong idea or anything...") And finally, composers of the ARS subtilior, a style the flourished in 14th-century France, produced some of the most beautiful manuscripts and crazy rhythmic ideas you'll ever encounter. "More subtle art," like crosswords--and the "American Pie" octalogy.

Jeff Chen notes:
Triple-stacked 11s are tough — there are so many crossing answers you have to be careful of. Too often, they result in so-so ... read more

Triple-stacked 11s are tough — there are so many crossing answers you have to be careful of. Too often, they result in so-so long answers, or pretty iffy crossers. I really like Andrew's bottom right corner, that triple of HOMO ERECTUS / INTAKE VALVE (yay, mechanical engineering!) / MYSTERY MEAT really singing. AMTS is really the only gluey bit in there, and it's minor. (And if you don't know JONY Ive, you ought to. He's the longtime Apple design guy, largely responsible for the look and feel of the iPhone in your pocket.)

INTAKE VALVE, very neat little assembly

The opposite corner is pretty good too, especially BAMBOO SHOOT over I MEAN, REALLY. The latter is even nicer because its implied comma gets stripped away by crossword convention, making it harder to uncover. (I didn't know what a BARREL CHAIR was, so it didn't do a lot for me, but at least it's readily inferable.) Here, we do see some stress in the grid, especially with TYRO, a bit of old-school crossword glue. I think OLIN is perfectly fine, as Ken and Lena OLIN have been reasonably big stars. OLAN is tougher to judge for me — "The Good Earth" has been on many reading lists, but OLAN is no Scout Finch or Hermione, IMO.

I enjoy seeing the diversity within themeless patterns. Typically, constructors using stacked 11s would separate them as much as possible from the rest of the grid, but Andrew goes big, running both EUGENE LEVY and DOLITTLE through the bottom right. Not easy to do at all, as that can fix so much of a corner rigidly in place, causing compromises. Again, it's the upper left that feels a bit of strain with BARIC (not super common, yeah?) but that's pretty minor.

I also liked that Andrew took advantage of some of his smaller slots, MCCAFE, TAX TIP, AD EXECS, PERIWIG adding to the quality of my solve. A NOTCH was the only real sticking point to me, as that feels like it violates a cardinal rule of the NYT crossword — no partials greater than five letters. Still, there's enough snappy material packed in that I imagine Will bit the bullet and let it by.

1
B
2
A
3
M
4
B
5
O
6
O
7
S
8
H
9
O
10
O
11
T
12
M
13
S
14
G
15
I
M
E
A
N
R
E
A
L
L
Y
16
C
E
O
17
B
A
R
R
E
L
C
H
A
I
R
18
C
A
N
19
R
I
M
E
20
A
N
N
O
21
T
A
T
E
22
F
23
B
I
C
A
S
24
E
S
25
A
F
A
R
26
R
A
E
27
N
S
A
28
A
29
D
30
E
X
E
C
S
31
A
S
S
32
E
S
33
R
34
A
N
O
U
T
35
G
E
T
T
H
36
E
W
R
O
N
G
I
37
D
38
E
39
A
40
H
O
L
I
S
T
41
E
P
O
X
Y
42
P
43
E
44
R
I
W
I
G
45
C
46
N
N
47
L
I
E
48
A
L
E
C
49
C
H
E
E
50
Z
I
T
S
51
G
L
A
S
52
S
53
J
54
A
R
55
A
L
I
T
56
A
I
D
57
H
O
M
O
58
E
R
E
C
T
59
U
60
S
61
N
O
M
62
I
N
T
A
K
E
V
A
L
V
E
63
S
T
E
64
M
Y
S
T
E
R
Y
M
E
A
T
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0416 ( 24,266 )

Support XWord Info today

Access this site for a full year:

  1. Select your level
  2. Choose how to pay

Learn about support levels.

$50 — Angel

Full access + download

$20 — Regular User

Full access, limited Finder

$10 — Casual User

Students & seniors
Across
1. Edible Asian sprout : BAMBOOSHOOT
12. Something found naturally in tomatoes and potatoes : MSG
15. "Like, are you serious?!" : IMEANREALLY
16. Top of an outfit? : CEO
17. Furniture item with a rounded back : BARRELCHAIR
18. Head : CAN
19. Winter coat : RIME
20. Seek to explain, in a way : ANNOTATE
22. Some of them are devoted to gangsters : FBICASES
25. Not close : AFAR
26. Bob ___, leader of Canada's Liberal Party before Justin Trudeau : RAE
27. Org. in the documentary "Citizenfour" : NSA
28. They clear spots : ADEXECS
31. Jerks : ASSES
33. Expired : RANOUT
35. Misunderstand : GETTHEWRONGIDEA
40. One taking the big view, medically : HOLIST
41. Bond producer : EPOXY
42. Top of the British judicial system? : PERIWIG
45. "This is ___" : CNN
47. "Your table will be ready in five minutes," possibly : LIE
48. Tess's lover in "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" : ALEC
49. Orange snacks : CHEEZITS
51. Something that may be jam-packed : GLASSJAR
55. Stopped winging it? : ALIT
56. Bolster : AID
57. Distant ancestor : HOMOERECTUS
61. Information after "Je m'appelle ..." : NOM
62. Car engine component : INTAKEVALVE
63. ___-Chapelle : STE
64. Much-joked-about cafeteria offering : MYSTERYMEAT
Down
1. Seafood shack item : BIB
2. Quack stopper, for short : AMA
3. Christmas superlative : MERRIEST
4. Relating to element #56 : BARIC
5. Patrick Stewart's adaptation of "A Christmas Carol," e.g. : ONEMANSHOW
6. More after more? : ORLESS
7. Tick : SEC
8. Routine responses : HAHAS
9. Pearl Buck heroine : OLAN
10. Massachusetts' ___ College : OLIN
11. Hardly a vet : TYRO
12. Place to get a brew in more than 11,000 U.S. locations : MCCAFE
13. Alaska Airlines hub : SEATAC
14. They're history : GONERS
21. It might help you on your return : TAXTIP
22. Assault, as a commanding officer : FRAG
23. ___ 10 : BASE
24. Pincered creature : EARWIG
28. How much to be above, as they say : ANOTCH
29. Teacher at Oxford : DON
30. Only actor to appear in all eight "American Pie" films : EUGENELEVY
32. Magnum opus of Spinoza : ETHICS
34. ___ subtilior (musical style) : ARS
36. Country's ___ Young Band : ELI
37. Doctor of book and screen : DOLITTLE
38. It's found on the side of a highway : EXIT
39. Passing requirements : AYES
42. Ancient Greeks, e.g. : PAGANS
43. Broadway Billy : ELLIOT
44. Software text page : README
46. Warmer, in a way : NEARER
49. Southeastern European : CROAT
50. Cold medicine brand : ZICAM
52. Level : SHIM
53. Sir ___ Ive, designer of the iPad, iPod, iPhone and iMac : JONY
54. Qts. and gals. : AMTS
58. Stretch (out) : EKE
59. A.C.C. school : UVA
60. Good to go : SET

Answer summary: 9 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?